Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spill About Your Love link up

Today I'm linking up with A. Liz Adventures to spill about my love. You can link up and spill about your love at the link below!
{1} Describe your dating life prior to finding your husband.
We started dating right after high school, so my prior dating life was not that extensive - mostly summer flings. A funny story is that my husband asked me to our junior prom and I turned him down - eek! Over the next year we became great friends and luckily for me, he was persistent and asked again senior year, I said "yes" this time, and the rest, as they say, is history.  We just passed the 9 year mark.
Prom picture from 2004 - we look like babies!
Summer 2006 at the Jersey Shore.
{2} Describe your husband in one word. How would he describe you in one word?
Hard-working. Since we've moved, he's been working from home a lot, and I'm always amazed to hear him in action...though he might wear the floors bare because he also paces when he's on the phone :)  He'd probably say that I'm caring (or crafty, or crazy. Something with a "c.")

{3} You had a really silly fight. Embarrassing silly. What was it about?
Almost all of our fights are about silly things. One of our more epic fights was in IKEA about 4 years ago, and started from something really stupid like me filling the cart with way too much stuff and he asked how I planned to get it all home. Rather than yell, we typically go silent for a while and then work it out. Besides that, we were long distance for 5 years, so all the little silly miscommunications that go along with that led to most of our other fights.

{4} In three sentences (and only three!), describe where you both hope to be in 5 years.
 I hope that we'll be parents. I hope that we will have a house to call our own. I hope that we'll both feel fulfilled in and rewarded by whatever jobs we're in.

{5} Tell us something about your husband we wouldn't know from reading your blog.
I haven't been blogging long, so there's lots you don't know about him, but he's fantastic with kids. He worked as a summer camp counselor for years and had those kids tying their own shoes and not throwing temper tantrums within a few weeks of meeting them. He also coached a baseball team with a former coworker for 3 years and was great at that, too!

{6} What's one thing you never thought you'd do in front of your husband/boyfriend/fiance, but you did?
The obvious would be some bodily function, but I can't come up with a specific example right now...
One of my favorite engagement pictures - we used this picture for our save the dates cards.
A favorite picture from our wedding ceremony - you can't see much of my face, but we have some great pictures of these "little looks" during the ceremony.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Halfway-ish there...

Sheesh - moving is exhausting! We spent most of the weekend unpacking boxes, and we still have a bunch to go. We concentrated mostly on the master bedroom/bathroom/closet, living & dining area and kitchen, so the guest bedroom/office and guest bathroom are still a mess. I've already made two trips to Target, two trips to Harris Teeter, a trip to Trader Joe's and still keep coming up with tons of stuff I forgot to buy. During our unpacking, we made sure to take breaks to explore our new neighborhood; enjoying a long walk on Saturday morning with bagels, coffee, and a stop at the local farmers market. We got quite a haul for only $12.31 - tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, peaches, corn - luckily it was towards the end of our walk, cuz those bags were heavy!

It is so strange to look in the fridge and cabinets and feel like I'm in someone else's kitchen - all different brands, bottles, etc. I've been having fun making use of our produce - made my family's zucchini mock crab cakes for lunch (recipe to come) and quinoa/spinach patties with poached eggs (my first attempt at poaching eggs myself and it was a near I have a project - perfect poaching.)

Once we're all unpacked I'll post pictures of the apartment, but for now I'm happy to report that we got a great rug at a GREAT price last week - Rugs USA was having a 65% off sale, so we got a 6x9 ft rug for the living room for under $200. The shipping took about a week, which was perfect since I ordered it while we were still "homeless." I'll definitely keep them bookmarked for any future rug purchases (and probably wait for another serious sale like last week's!)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

(Almost) Moving Day!

We finally get to move into our apartment tomorrow - we've been in a hotel for the past 12 days and it's hard to feel settled when your whole life is in one room - even though it's a really nice room with a kitchenette and sitting area. Can't wait to start exploring our new neighborhood and get unpacked.

On the plus side, as long as we were in a hotel, A's company was paying for our dinners, so we've been having a fun time exploring lots of Charlotte's restaurants...and our pants still fit, amazingly! So far we've enjoyed: Portofino's, Cowfish, The Liberty, Mr. K's Soft Serve (only the ice cream, we stopped in after our dinner at the Liberty,) Pio Pio, the Terrace Cafe, Doan Vietnamese, Rooster's, Maverick Rock Taco, Dragon Fly Chinese (their egg rolls have the "right" wrappers! We've been missing the bumpy/chewy egg roll wrappers as long as we were in Texas - they have the thin, crispy-skinned rolls there.) There are a few more places on our list that we won't make it to, but those will be fun to explore in the next few weeks/months.

Also, we're BEYOND excited that Chuy's is opening up near the SouthPark Mall - we LOVE Chuy's, had one really close to our apartment in Texas, and are so glad that starting later this month we'll be able to fill our creamy jalapeno cravings here in Charlotte!

More updates after we're moved in and slightly unpacked...I'm starting to worry about what to do with all the boxes we'll be emptying!

Friday, June 7, 2013

On packing it in and and moving on…

Okay, I promise this blog won’t always be lists of things I’m excited for or sad to leave with this move, but it’s just what’s on my mind at the moment. 

Today I’m thinking a lot about the various moves I’ve made. I grew up in Philadelphia, and lived there my entire childhood – well in two different houses, but even when we moved when I was 6, it was only about 5 blocks away from the old house. The first big “move” I made was to attend college in Massachusetts – this one was fairly straight forward – there was a definite beginning and end date, and a lot of my stuff remained in my childhood bedroom. I spent 5 years in Massachusetts, for undergrad and grad school, but spent most of my summers in Philadelphia. 

While I was in grad school, my now-husband-then-boyfriend (also from Philadelphia) moved to Cleveland for an 8 month training program with his company. We both figured that after his training he’d be moved somewhere on the East Coast and start working and that I’d join him after graduating…When I attended the family visit day in Cleveland and one of the higher-ups at the company said that they are careful with their moves and don’t put people in places that are totally unfamiliar and out of their comfort zone, I was feeling even more sure of this plan…imagine my surprise when the list of possible territories came out around Christmas and there was NOTHING east of the Mississippi River. If I remember correctly, the options included Anaheim, Los Angeles, Tulsa, Moline (that’s in Illinois, I didn’t know where it was either…and it actually might be east of the Mississippi River, but that didn’t really help matters where Moline was concerned), Seattle or Portland, St. Louis, and Houston. None of these places tickled my fancy. None of them were in the “comfort zone” I thought we’d been promised. Fast forward two months and we find out we were going to Houston! Cue tears…lots of them. Lucky for me, my best friend since middle school and my best friend from college just happened to both be there when I came out into the common room of our suite and turned into a blubbering mess. I eventually stopped crying and realized this was really happening, but first I went back to Philadelphia for the summer, to enjoy my last summer of absolutely no adult responsibilities. 

In August of 2009, my mom and I packed up my trusty Camry and made the trip from Philadelphia to Houston, making stops in Norfolk, VA, Chattanooga, TN, and New Orleans on the way. I had my wisdom teeth out a week before the road trip and my stitches out the morning we left, so I’m sure I was a real joy to be around for those 4 days. I moved to Texas with no job, and really no prospect of a job, but I found one within about 6 weeks of moving, and worked there until 3 days before we moved to Charlotte.

Sometime in Winter 2010/2011, we were having breakfast at one of our favorite spots and started talking about what the future might hold…or really, what our exit strategy was. It astonished me that it had been so “easy” to move to Texas and that it was proving to be much harder to actually move back closer to home…no it wasn’t emotionally/psychologically easy, but there was nothing holding us back to keep us from moving to Texas…whereas now we both had jobs, and were becoming established in our respective careers. Almost all of our friends from college and many from high school had settled in Boston, but it really seemed like it would be impossible for us to end up there (which is okay, after 5 New England winters I know that I’m not cut out for that.) How could that be though?! All of our family and everything familiar was in the Northeast, but here we were, doing pretty darn well in Texas, and not wanting to completely uproot ourselves without some really good reason. At that breakfast, we set a goal move date of December 2012. Clearly now it took us a little bit longer than that, but within 6 months of our goal, here we are. We had to champion our cause, seek out my husband’s job opportunity that brings us here to Charlotte. 

And here we are, 4 years later. Again I find myself moving without a job, or even a prospect of a job…but you know what…that’s okay. I have faith that things will work out here as they did in Texas…and we’re pretty excited to start putting down some new roots. And I’m pretty excited to have “summer break” and to do some exploring in our new city.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Holed up

Hotel living...not sure if I mentioned in an earlier post, but we are staying in a hotel in Charlotte for two weeks until our apartment is ready and our furniture arrives from Texas. Being in the hotel makes it hard to feel settled in our new city. We are doing our best to get out and explore, but it just won't feel real until we're moved into the apartment and getting to know our new neighborhood. This weekend we're planning to go to the Taste of Charlotte festival in Uptown, which should be a great way to get to know some more local eateries.

I'm missing the Central time zone! I loved being able to watch things an hour earlier, and it was always convenient when I was bored to be able to call my parents without interrupting their dinner time. Never thought I'd feel that way, as I used to find it ridiculous that some of my favorite TV shows started at 7pm.

One nice thing about the hotel is that we're so bored that we're using the gym! I've probably worked out more in the past week than in the 3 years prior...sad but true! Hopefully that will carry over when we're in our apartment which also has a free fitness center. Without a job I am hoping to get into a fairly regular exercise schedule. The problem with my job in Texas was that my schedule was SO weird, and the days I was in the office involved at least 3 hours in the car with the long distance and horrible traffic at rush hour.

Luckily the hotel we're staying at is set up for extended stays, our room has a microwave, dishes and silverware, dishwasher, kitchen sink, and 3/4 size fridge as well as a big desk area. We made a trip to the grocery store and the huge farmers market so we have plenty of snacks and meals between the free breakfast and the dinners out.

I know we'll both be glad to settle into the apartment next Friday!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

North Carolina Bucket List

Here's what we've got on our North Carolina (& Region) Bucket List (so far)

-Go whitewater rafting at the US National Whitewater Center
-Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway
-Visit Savannah
-Visit Charleston
-Visit Asheville
-Visit the Outer Banks (I went in 8th grade with a friend and her family but haven't been back since)
-Visit the Biltmore (bonus points if we go again for Christmas)
-Waterfront dining on Lake Norman
-Be an extra on Homeland
-Purchase a CSA share of locally raised meat (possibly this one:

What are we missing?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Texas Bucket List

When we weren't feeling so hot on living in Texas, we decided an attitude adjustment was needed. We asked ourselves when else in our lives would be have the chance to do all the wild and crazy things that Texas considers normal? Probably never - here's where the Texas Bucket List came in. Sadly, we didn't get to cross off every little thing on our list, but it was definitely helpful when we were feeling bored or stuck.

Some of the things on our list (and a few that weren't on the list) included:

-Rodeo - Every March the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo rolls into town for 3 weeks of barbecue, concerts, and rodeo competition. We definitely didn't take great advantage of the free passes we got through A's work, but did make it to the rodeo 4-5 times in the years we lived there.

-Visiting Dinosaur Valley State Park - this Texas State Park is home to some really well preserved dinosaur tracks in a few spots along the river bed. It is also home to two life-size fiberglass dinosaur replicas. We visited Dinosaur Valley State Park last June on the way to an Indy Car race in Fort Worth, that A's work gave us suite (& sweet) passes to attend. Indy Car was not on our bucket list, but it was a worthwhile experience.

-Bluebonnet pictures - if you've ever been to Texas in the Spring, you're sure to have seen bluebonnets. Bluebonnets are a beautiful and resilient flower that bloom alongside highways all over Southeast and Central Texas. If you're driving around in March and April, you don't have to go far before you see cars pulled over on the side of the road, flashers on, and parents placing their children in patches of bluebonnets. Where we lived, the Township seeded a whole field of them, so we didn't have to pull over on the side of the highway to get these pictures:

Things we never made it to included:
Texas State Fair - unfortunately, my work schedule required me to work almost every Saturday in the fall, so we never made it to the Texas State Fair in Dallas. I'm not crazy about crowds, so I'm thinking that this one might be a blessing in disguise, as attendance is over 2.5 million people over the monthlong fair.

Drive In movies - there is a drive in about an hour from where we lived, and we really meant to go, but never made it. We always found excuses not to go, but I think it's probably just because we're old and wouldn't get home until 2:00am after the double features they show.

Austin - this one I'm pretty bummed about. We made it to San Antonio a few times, and I was in Dallas twice for work, but we never got to spend a weekend in Austin. Towards the end of our time in Texas we realized that we probably wouldn't make it there.

So now we're working on a North Carolina bucket list - there are tons of places we're excited to visit with Charlotte as our new home base. What's on your "hometown (or state or region) tourism" bucket list?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Going to Carolina...

Welp, the husband and I have picked up and made the move to Charlotte, NC. If you told me 4 years ago that I'd find leaving Texas bittersweet I would have laughed in your face...but I suppose after spending awhile in any given place it's tough to just pack it up and go. We'd made a nice little life there, and it's daunting (but super exciting) to create that all over again. We're in an extended stay hotel for the next two weeks, then moving into our next two bedroom rental while we look for a place to call our own.

I'm excited to spend the next few days and weeks exploring all that the Charlotte area has to offer, I'll be sure to share my adventures with y'all! Anyone who knew me in college must know how thrilled I am to be able to say y'all in everyday conversation without heads turning - this was one of the things I picked up the quickest after moving to Texas, and I'm so glad that our next home is in an equally y'all-friendly state!

For now I'll leave you with a little montage to our road trip from Texas to North Carolina! The only road sign that's hard to make out is South Carolina, it was pouring for a lot of our ride through the Palmetto State.